Cancer and the Holidays: How to Cope and Celebrate

The holidays can be a festive time, but for people dealing with cancer, they can also be stressful and full of anxiety. For many patients and their families, the thought of preparing for the season may be met with mixed emotions. And while parties and gift-giving often go hand-in-hand with the holiday season, you might … Continued

What Is Scalp Cooling and How Does It Work?

Scalp cooling is a simple treatment developed to help prevent or reduce hair loss caused by chemotherapy. Chemotherapy works by targeting rapidly dividing cells, and hair is the second fastest dividing cell — which is why many chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss. Scalp cooling reduces the blood flow to the cells that produce hair and … Continued

He Lost His Sight to Cancer, But Not His Vision of a Full Life

When Tim Conners collected his wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation in 2012 at the age of 18, he was blind from childhood leukemia that had spread to his optic nerve. A football player and wrestler who’d never been an outdoorsman, he asked to meet Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to climb the Seven Summits … Continued

Doctor and Nurse Team Up for Blood Cancers Support Group

By Ronni Gordon When my year of isolation ended after a stem cell transplant at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in 2003, I looked for a blood cancer support group near my home in western Massachusetts. I found support groups for just about everyone except patients like me with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other … Continued

Q&A with Young Adult Cancer Survivor Andrew McMahon

Andrew McMahon, founder of Dear Jack Foundation and front man of the band Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, was diagnosed with leukemia at 22, in the midst of his musical career. Like other young adults with cancer, McMahon’s treatment affected every aspect of his life, from career to relationships and everything in between. Learn more … Continued

Transforming End of Life Care through Communication

Justin Sanders’ path to Dana-Farber’s Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care department has meandered across the world. He grew up in Utah, studied art history in Pennsylvania, medicine in Vermont, and, as a Fulbright scholar, medical anthropology in London before he trained and worked as a family doctor in the Bronx and then as a hospitalist … Continued

On The Other Side

After a cancer diagnosis, people often ask you what the silver lining was, or is. Let’s get real here, cancer is a beast and what I’ve watched it do to my friends and loved ones, and experienced myself, makes it nearly impossible to see any “good.” However, in my personal experience, I did find my … Continued

Tips for Dealing with Lung Cancer Stigma

By Allison DiBiaso, LICSW A cancer diagnosis can fundamentally alter a person’s life, and it can often add an unexpected burden: stigma. Lung cancer patients are some of the people who experience this stigma most, as others may look at or treat them differently because of their diagnosis. In some cases, the patients themselves may … Continued

Feeling Lucky in an Unlucky Situation

By all accounts, Annie McNamara was living a typical young adult’s life in 2015. The 26-year-old lived in South Boston with a good friend from college, worked in Duxbury in the retail department of Island Creek Oysters, and liked spending time with her friends and boyfriend, Dan. She wasn’t a huge fan of the gym … Continued

Finding Strength and Beauty During Annual ‘Girls Weekend’

For seventeen girls and patients at Dana-Farber Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Dana-Farber’s annual Girls Weekend – a three-day arts, shopping, and food extravaganza – is a much-needed opportunity to relax and connect with new friends who also know what it’s like to have cancer. “Being a teenager – especially when you’re a … Continued

Social Work Helps David Practice His Passion

Extreme stomach pains sent David Rubinstein to the emergency department in December 2011. After emergency surgery, he was diagnosed with stage IV carcinoid cancer, a rare gastrointestinal tumor – leaving him to grapple with the uncertainty of his future. “I live with the daily fear about what the future holds,” says Rubinstein, a professional musician … Continued

Gynecological Cancer Patients Find Safety, Solidarity in Support Group

Deb Petrishen says well-meaning but frustrating interactions can occur everywhere, from the grocery store to family functions. Although friends and loved ones are often sensitive and supportive, some may not know what to say to someone with stage III ovarian cancer, especially after two recurrences. Petrishen has just as much difficulty explaining her feelings. Except … Continued

What’s In Your Chemotherapy Bag?

Joy Yang, 36, diagnosed with stage III inflammatory breast cancer, finds support during treatment from her care team, led by Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, director of Dana-Farber’s Adult Survivorship Program and Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer, and another, unexpected source: her bag. “I’ve perfected my chemo bag,” shares Yang, who is now cancer … Continued

Tips for Maintaining Intimacy During Cancer

Cancer and its treatment can affect every aspect of a patient’s life, and many patients talk about how to find a “new normal” after a cancer diagnosis. Sharon Bober, PhD, director of Dana-Farber’s Sexual Health Program, says part of this new normal can be changes in your sexual and intimate life. “If you’re not feeling … Continued

Tips for Starting Difficult Conversations with Your Care Team

By James Tulsky, MD James Tulsky, MD, is chair of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber, with a longstanding research interest in clinician-patient communication and quality of life for patients with serious illnesses. He is also founding director of VitalTalk, a non-profit with a mission to nurture healthier connections between clinicians and patients through … Continued

Making the Best of Things In The Hospital

By Rich Rothman In 2013, I was facing a lengthy hospital stay after being diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer known as myelodysplastic syndromes (”MDS”). I had decided to proceed with a bone marrow transplant, which was thought to be the only potential cure. After being admitted to the hospital, I had intensive, round-the-clock chemotherapy … Continued

For Cancer Survivors, a New Look at New Year’s Resolutions

Olivia Bowie says she’s never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. Since she couldn’t keep commitments like eating healthier or working out more, she didn’t bother making them, the college student jokes. Then, in 2015, doctors discovered she had rhabdomyosarcoma. “Being diagnosed with cancer, and going through treatment, has changed my whole outlook,” says Bowie, … Continued

My Experience as an LGBTQ Cancer Patient

By Tara Baysol My first truly extensive exposure to the health care system as a patient began in 2013 with my brain cancer diagnosis. It was, and continues to be, an eye-opening experience. One big challenge that presented itself early on in my cancer journey was learning how to navigate the system and advocate for … Continued